Throwback Thursday July-16-2015

If there’s one way to beat the heat, it’s to jump into the nearest body of water possible–for me at least! While flipping through the Manchester Historic Archives I found that even a century ago, Manchester residents had the same idea. I found loads pictures of swimming holes and pools used to beat the Summer heat!

The most interesting swimming spot I found was part of the Amoskeag Children’s Playground on Canal Street. Throughout this Throwback Thursday series, we have learned quite a bit about the influence of the Amoskeag Mills on Manchester’s culture. In 1916, a Mr. Otis Grant Hammond wrote a section in ‘The Granite State Monthly’ about this playground and its apparent benefits to the community. He writes:

“The Amoskeag Company has always been the hearty cooperator of the State in seeking to exclude child labor from mills; and with their further welfare in mind, has established a splendid playground and gardens for children whose elders are in the employ of the company…The children’s playground probably has attracted more attention and called forth more well-deserved commendation than any other one thing this excellent corporation has done for its employees, situated as it is in full view of every railroad train going or coming north of Manchester.”

Hammond continues with a description of the playground:

“A plot of land one hundred feet wide and nearly five hundred feet long, enclosed by an iron fence as ornamental as it is practical, contains a full equipment of modern gymnastic apparatus, swings, chutes, see-saws and other devices for safe enjoyment. There is a running track, a baseball diamond and a football field. For the tiny children, there is a shelter house, with baby swings and a wading pool. Free band concerts given here during the summer months prove another source of attraction to this justly popular place.”

Who knew that free summer concerts were enjoyed in Manchester all the way back in 1916? Almost 100 years ago! It’s also pretty remarkable to think of how, what is now Canal Street, was home to such a large playground! Just some more fun facts about the history of Manchester!


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